Here is the text of a speech prepared for delivery to the
Republican National Convention on Tuesday by Housing and Urban Development
Secretary Jack Kemp:
Thank you, Roger Staubach. It's an honor to be introduced by a fellow
quarterback, an NFL Hall of Famer, and -- hopefully -- a future governor or
senator from the great State of Texas.
Fellow Republicans, fellow Americans. Tonight America stands at the doorway
of breathtaking opportunity -- on the eve of a new century and a new millennium.
As Ronald Reagan reminded us last night, history is on the side of freedom --
and those liberal democratic ideals which gave birth to our ntion and inspired
the most revolutionary words the world has ever heard:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that
they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights -- and among
these are the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Tonight these ideas -- liberal democracy, individual freedom, entrepreneurial
capitalism -- are on the march and winning throughout the world.
Just think, one year ago, reactionary forces in Moscow tried to roll back
this democratic revolution. They failed.
Since then, Boris Yeltsin became Russia's first democratically elected
president in over a thousand years.
Statues of Marx and Lenin were toppled in Red Square.
The Hammer and Sickle came down from atop the Kremlin -- providentially, on
Today Mikhail Gorbachev is a syndicated columnist for the New York Times.
And believe it or not, we find the mayors of St. Petersburg and Moscow to the
right of the mayors of New York and Boston.
Several months ago, I had lunch with the former mayor of Moscow, and asked
him how he got elected.
He said, "Mr. Kemp, I told all the people in state-owned housing they should
have the right to own their own homes. The right to sell them for profit and
leave their propety to their children.
"And, I pledged to make downtown Moscow a free enterprise zone."
I said, "Mr. Mayor, where did you get these radical ideas?"
He said, "Mr. Kemp, I got them from the 1980 Republican Platform of Ronald
Reagan and George Bush."
Ladies and gentlemen, communism didn't fall. It was pushed!
And it was our ideas that did the pushing and our Republican presidents --
Ronald Reagan and George Bush -- that helped change the world.
Now we must change America.
Our goal must be nothing less than to double the size of our economy -- to
bring prosperity, jobs, ownership and opportunity to all Americans, especially
those living in our Nation's pockets of poverty.
Think of what that growth would mean: More jobs, higher living standards,
extraordinary opportunities for all our people, and the resources to meet our
most ambitious goals -- public and private.
But make no mistake: If we are to change America, we must change the United
States Congress. We must give President Bush and Vice President Quayle a
Republican Congress to get America moving again and finally wage a winning war
Ladies and gentlemen, the purpose of a great party is not to defeat its
opponents, but to provide superior leadership and a great cause.
It's not to denounce the past, but to inspire our nation to a better future.
This great cause is the same today as it was when our party was founded.
Listen to the words of Abraham Lincoln:
"The progress by which the poor, honest, industrious and resolute man raises
himself, that he may work on his own account, and hire somebody else ... is the
great principle for which this government was really formed."
Lincoln believed that in this country, capitalism must grow from the bottom
up, not the top down -- capitalism must begin on Main Street and extend to Wall
Street, not the other way around.
This has special meaning to me. As a boy growing up in Los Angeles this was
my experience. You see, my dad was a truck driver. He earned enough to buy the
truck. Eventually he and his brother built a small business that put six
children through college.
This is the kind of capitalism we envision for America -- the freedom not
just to drive a truck, but the chance to own that truck and one day own a
This is America. This is the dream. And this is the cause our party must
champion in the '90s.
We don't believe in an America that pursues equality by making rich people
poor, but by allowing poor people, indeed all people, to become rich. Not just
rich in creature comforts, but rich in the opportunity to achieve your God-given
The party of Lincoln does not believe people are a drain on resources.
People ARE our resources.
We don't believe children are just mouths to feed. They are hearts, minds,
and souls for our future. And they deserve our protection not only after their
birth, but before they are born.
We don't believe compassion should be measured by the size of the safety net,
but by the number of rungs on the ladder of opportunity.
This is what distinguishes our party from the Democrats.
The Democrats' New Covenant is not new. It's not change. It doesn't put
people first, it puts government first; it doesn't empower people, it empowers
bureaucracy. It doesn't encourage investment and growth, it spends ... and
spends ... and spends.
Mario Cuomo gave away the Democrats' game plan just before their convention
when he told us, Bill Clinton has the courage to raise our taxes.
The Democrats call that courage -- I call it crazy.
In this economy, can you imagine anything more depressing and destructive
than raising income tax rates and imposing a surtax. The Democrats' plan won't
soak the rich, it'll soak the poor, soak the middle class, and drown our
We all know what the problem is -- the economy is starved for capital. When
capital is taxed heavily -- as it is now -- it becomes scarce, available only to
the privileged few. The spirit of enterprise -- the engine of growth and new
jobs -- is being smothered.
George Bush and our party understood this back in 1988 when we ran on a
pledge to cut the capital gains tax, index it to stop taxing gains due only to
inflation, and eliminate it in our inner cities and pockets of poverty.
In 1989, President Bush asked Congress to carry out his mandate. The
Democratic Congress said no.
In 1990 and 1991, as the economymoved into recession, he asked repeatedly for
Congress said no.
This year, in the State of The Union Address, the president pleaded with
Congress said no.
Then just last week, in a party-line vote, the United States Senate said no
And even after the tragedy of the Los Angeles riots -- when we asked the
Democrats to pass the enterprise zone legislation our party has sought for 12
years, Congress adjourned.
Ladies and gentlemen, isn't it time we said no to the Democratic Congress?
What nerve they have, these Democrats -- as the unemployment lines lengthen
to 11 million, they stonewall our pleas for action -- and then blame our
president and our party for the economic decline.
What nerve -- to now step forward and offer more taxation, more government
and more welfare dependency and proclaim -- get this -- "a New Democratic
Let me tell you, capital and credit are virtually non-existent in our
nation's inner cities. As HUD Secretary, I've travelled this country. I've seen
the results -- and they're devastating.
For 50 years, the Democratic Party has dictated most of the policies
governing our cities. Higher taxes. Redistribution of wealth. A welfare system
that penalizes people for working, discourages marriage, punishes the family,
and literally prohibits savings.
It's not the values of the poor that are flawed; it's the values of the
welfare system that are bankrupt.
These policies have robbed our cities of vibrance and shattered the link
between effort and reward. Now the Democrats want to impose the same failed
policies on the rest of merica. What nerve.
Our party offers a better way.
Last year, I toured the home of a wonderful black woman named Evelyn Lindsey.
After years in public housing and on welfare, thanks to our administration's
public-private partnerships, she finally became a homeowner.
But after the tour, one skeptical reporter asked, "How can you guarantee this
house will look as good ten years from today?"
Evelyn Lindsey looked that reporter in the eye and said: "It'll look better
because for the first time in my life I own something of value I can pass on to
Ladies and gentlemen, she spoke not only for her family, but for all
Tonight, let us speak for her -- and for all those Americans who aspire to
ownership and entrepreneurship, to jobs and upward mobility, to safety and
security, and to the right to send their children to the school of their choice
-- either public or private.
President Bush was speaking for her when he told public housing residents in
St. Louis that someday they too could own their own home. He was speaking for
her when he told the cheering crowd that the capital gains tax is "a tax on the
He pledged "if the system's not helping build a better life, then we must
change the system."
And we will! We must!
I loved hearing President Reagan remind us last night that it's not enough to
be equal in the eyes of God, we have to be equal in the eyes of each other.
Our party offers a more powerful vision -- an America committed to
prosperity, opportunity, and jobs for our people.
We must be the party that unleashes the talents of all our people. That's why
I'm proud our president's platform puts our party on the side of lower tax rates
on working families, on capital formation, on first-time homebuyers, and on poor
Americans who want their shot at the American Dream.
Fellow Americans, the liberals just don't get it. They don't understand -- we
can't create more employees without creating more employers. We can't have
capitalism without capital.
And we can't expect people to defend property rights when they are denied
access to property.
But when people have a stake in the system they will defend not only their
own property, but their neighbors' as well. This is the message of Los Angeles
and every other pocket of poverty -- we must be the party that gives veryone a
stake in the system.
That is what the re-election of George Bush means to America.
We have the ideas. We are on the side of history. We must bring alive the
promise of the Declaration of Independence for all people everywhere.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is a great cause, and we've got a great team.
And let me say -- as an old football player who played in this very stadium
-- we've got a great quarteback in George Bush.